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April 12, 2010
2:05 PM

CONTACT: Food & Water Watch

Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch: (202) 683-2500, kfried(at)fwwatch(dot)org

Federal Inattention to Triclosan Sparks Grassroots and Legislative Action

Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter and Beyond Pesticides Executive Director Jay Feldman

WASHINGTON - April 12 - "In July 2009, Food & Water Watch, Beyond Pesticides, and 35 other health, labor and environmental groups submitted an amended petition to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requiring that the agency ban the use of the controversial pesticide triclosan for non-medical applications on the basis that those uses violate the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act. Additionally, 80 organizations supported a similar petition to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted in January 2010. A hazardous antibacterial agent, triclosan is found in many household and personal care products such as soaps, cleaners, cosmetics, clothing, and children's toys. Strong scientific evidence suggests that persistent use of triclosan poses imminent threats to human health and the environment. To date, we have yet to receive a formal response from either FDA or EPA on this matter.

"Despite federal inaction on this important issue, backlash against triclosan is building momentum elsewhere. In January, Representative Ed Markey (D-MA) sent letters to both EPA & FDA asking about the regulatory status of triclosan. Last month, the town of Highland Park, New Jersey moved to ban the municipal purchase of products containing the pesticide. A similar movement is also afoot in New Paltz, New York.

"Food & Water Watch and Beyond Pesticides call on FDA and EPA to protect the well-being consumers and the environment by banning non-medical uses of this unnecessary and dangerous chemical."

Beyond Pesticides, founded in 1981 as the National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides, is a national community-based organization of grassroots groups and individuals, which bridges environment, health, urban and rural concerns to: (i) stimulate widespread education on the hazards of toxic pesticides, and the availability of effective alternative pest management approaches in the context of protecting the public's health; (ii) influence decision makers responsible for pest management to use safe methods through grassroots action; and, (iii) encourage the adoption of local, state and national policies that stringently restrict pesticide use and promote alternative approaches that respect health and the environment.

Food & Water Watch is a non-profit organization working with grassroots organizations around the world to create an economically and environmentally viable future. Through research, public and policymaker education, media, and lobbying, we advocate policies that guarantee safe, wholesome food produced in a humane and sustainable manner and public, rather than private, control of water resources including oceans, rivers, and groundwater. For more information, visit

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